Sunday, May 24
Phil Mickelson, Family Man
Gone indefinitely: Phil Mickelson. (nsaplayer/Flickr)
PEOPLE HAVE QUESTIONED Phil Mickelson in so many ways.
Why hasn’t Phil won more majors? Why has Lefty made so many seemingly bonehead decisions at critical moments in tournaments? Why can’t he hit more fairways? And, perhaps the ultimate question, why can’t this supremely talented player challenge Tiger Woods more often?
There is one thing about Phil Mickelson that can not be questioned. He is a family man first and foremost. Phil is second in the world golf rankings. Golf is second in his life. There’s a certain symmetry.
This is not to suggest that other players are not dedicated family men. They are. Yet it’s been more evident with Phil, partly because he is one of the world’s best golfers, but mostly because of the family choices he has made in full public view.
If necessary, Lefty would have left the 1999 U.S. Open to be with wife Amy to witness the birth of their first child, Amanda. Phil took breaks from the tour to be at home in San Diego so he could take his kids to school. Or to go trick-or-treating. Yes, trick-or-treating. This is as natural to Lefty as a flop shot with no green to work with.
So, when the news broke this week that Amy Mickelson has breast cancer and faces major surgery, it was no surprise that Phil announced he would suspend play on the PGA Tour indefinitely. That means there is no timeline. Lefty could be gone for a long while. He may miss the U.S. Open. Nobody knows.
I believe this: Phil won’t have any regrets about leaving golf. Not one. Amy and his family come first. The order of things was established long ago.
It reminds me of another family man who insists he’s rather ordinary. I read about him in the current issue of Reader’s Digest. His name is Denzel Washington.
“I am who I am − a regular guy with a great job,” Denzel said. “How I’m analyzed belongs to someone else. In a few minutes, I’ve got a kid’s game to go to, and then I’m taking our daughter to auditions. Today, that’s my job.”
We’ve only had the pleasure to see Phil Mickelson at one of his jobs. The other job is calling. And it will always be more important than golf.
−The Armchair Golfer